In the news in June

via In the news in June – The Zimbabwean 1 June 2015

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has kept up his efforts to re-engage with the British and American imperialists. British ambassador Ms Catriona Laing said the Zim-Asset document was full of “good ideas and projects” and her country was ready to help Zimbabwe in implementing it, (Reported in The Herald 2 June) while a visiting US trade delegation said it was impressed by the business opportunities in Zimbabwe and promised a follow-up visit next month . (NewsDay 8 June).

Mnangagwa must be hoping they don’t worry about issues like these abbreviated items from our press: Police reports seen by the Independent show that the ZRP are doing little, if anything, to find Itai Dzamara. ZRP had issued a press statement “. . appealing for any information that might assist in his location.” (19 June). That week ZRP played an active role in cancelling a prayer meeting for Dzamara (The Zimbabwean 17 June)

The EU Delegation in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Zimbabwe, on 9 June reiterated their call on the Government of Zimbabwe to take all necessary measures to ascertain Mr Dzamara’s whereabouts, safeguard his wellbeing and accord him the full protection of the law, . . . “Furthermore, the EU calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that those responsible for the abduction of Mr Dzamara are brought to justice”. (NewsDay, 9 June)

On Thursday 24 June, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) reported the murder of popular MDC-T activist Kenneth Chiguruguru Chikwerengwe (70) in Negari area, Ward 2, Mwenezi East constituency in Masvingo. The ZRP spokesperson could not immediately confirm the case, but Chikwerengwe is believed to have been killed by unknown assailants on June 19 although his mutilated body was only found on June 21 inside his hut by a relative. (via RadioVOP)

The family of the late Amos Midzi, former Energy minister, a top ally of former vice president Joice Mujuru, complained they were not allowed access to his body, as police finalised investigations at the scene of his death. (NewsDay 9 June) Family members said they cannot rule out foul play. Midzi, 62 was found dead a week after being suspended from ZANU-PF for allegedly plotting against the nonagenarian President. (DailyNews Live 10 June)

At his funeral Minister of State for Harare berated local media and those linking his death to alleged persecution by Mugabe and Zanu PF (New Zimbabwe 13 June) but by 21 June, police were saying Midzi was being probed for allegedly demanding money, using the party’s name, from several housing co-operatives in and around Harare. (Herald, 22 June)

This newspaper reported on 16 June about informed sources claiming that ZANU(PF) used HIV-positive prisoners to rape female supporters of the MDC-T during the 2008 presidential run-off period. Rape was used as part of the terror campaign against opposition supporters and was a closely guarded weapon. “Prisoners were screened and if confirmed to be HIV-positive but relatively healthy, they were released from jail into the hands of a crack unit comprising the army, CIO and the police,” said a retired senior prison officer.

“The prisoners then underwent some orientation and training and were informed that they were being recruited as officers in return for their freedom. Some of them were given police uniforms while others joined militias terrorising the opposition.” He said the released prisoners worked under the close command of members of the crack team, raping women and infecting them with HIV. “This is one gruesome tactic that was used but has never been talked about. Many women are likely to have been infected with the deadly virus and a lot of children born after the rape are likely to have been victims too,” he added.

Maybe we are only seeing evidence that the VP’s friends in London’s financial district and in US business are more concerned to see a strongman who will safeguard their share in our wealth from Chinese competitors and troublesome natives than to ask what measures he uses to keep control.